By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Children in seven schools in Lagos State are participating in the introductory phase of the Mobile Pilot Reading programme recently launched by Longman Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Pearson Educational Limited.

The reading programme tagged “Ladybird Mobile Reading Pilot”, is accessed by children through mobile phones and it is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

Gov Babatunde Fashola (SAN) of Lagos State
Gov Babatunde Fashola (SAN) of Lagos State

It is based on the Ladybird Key Words books which millions of children around the world have used to learn and read in the past 45 years.

These schools are Greenwood House School, Ikoyi; The Livingsprings Schools, Lekki; Lead-Forte Gate School, Ogudu; Hallmark Nursery and Primary School, Agidingbi; Halifield School, Mende; Sunnydale School, Ikeja GRA and CTC International School, Ikeja GRA.

In this pilot, children aged from five to nine download to their parents’ mobile phones a series of reading, spelling and grammar activities recommended by their teacher.

With the help of their parents, the children complete the activities at home and the results are reported back to the teacher to guide further work in class.

The children complete up to five homework sessions per week, with each session lasting about five minutes.

The programme helps the child master a foundation of the most important words of the English Language – words that make up half of all those used in everyday reading and writing.

In this way, the programme supports the child’s first steps in reading and builds his/her confidence in a fair short period of time.

According to Kern Roberts, a director of Longman Nigeria Plc and the Project Coordinator, “this is a great opportunity for parents to participate actively as their children take their steps in learning the English Language.

The programme is interactive and fund and provides a fantastic way for parent and child to work and bond together. But more importantly, children really benefit from the strong start in language skills that the Ladybird Key Words reading scheme offers.”

Pearson and Ladybird Books Limited, have created a series of interactive mobile applications for children who are learning the English Language to complement their classwork and traditional instructional materials such as books.

Longman Nigeria Plc is partnering with Mobile Xcetera Limited, a mobile content provider, to deliver this product to parents via GPRS/WAP-enabled mobile phones.

While briefing newsmen in Lagos, the Head of Marketing of Longman Nigeria Plc, Allwell Nwankwo, noted that the company had expanded its business beyond book publishing.

“While book publishing remains a very important and viable business to us, our organisation is much than a publishing firm. We are an educational solutions company. We keep searching for more effective and innovative platforms to deliver knowledge to the people,” he said.

“The Ladybird Mobile Reading Pilot is just one in a series of innovative projects from our stable that will transform the teaching and learning landscape in the country – and even beyond,” he noted.

After evaluating the results of the pilot, the company may roll out the programme on a national scale.

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